Birnbach Communications’ Top Predictions for 2013, Part XI

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Ongoing stories we’ll see covered in the media, Part II. 

  • Salaries paid women vs. men. There were a few articles percolating in 2012 that men continue to get paid more than women for the same jobs. We think there’s a good chance that this issue will rightfully garner more attention in 2013. 
  • Cashless payments.Last year, we said that digital wallets or e-wallets will would be mainstream by 2017. At the end of 2012, we moved that up to 2016. We continue to think there are security and behavioral, as well as technical, issues to be addressed but we do think that e-wallets that are stored in your phone make sense. We now rarely go anywhere (including, ugh, the bathroom) without our phones, and we already use our smartphones to make purchases online so it makes sense that we will forgo carrying a wallet. Key issues that remain include: There are several competing e-wallets standards being developed by often fierce competitors who in some cases are working together – but they need to find a way they can work together; you don’t want to be in a situation where your Google Wallet doesn’t work because the retailer is using Isis from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Another key issue is the systems retailers will need to deploy to accept cashless payments; we’re not sure that Near Field Communications (NFC) readers will take off because of the additional cost to retailers. We expect the industry to solve this in order to facilitate the mainstreaming of e-wallets. 
  • Crowdsourcing/daily deals: We think the media isn’t tired yet of reporting on interesting stories about companies that crowdsourced their way to success. But the bar has been raised because the fact that you’re crowdsourcing isn’t enough to generate coverage – your company has to be doing something else that’s relevant. Meanwhile, the daily deal business has lost buzz – we’re not saying it’s going away, just that there will be fewer stories about daily deal sites, with one exception. We expect coverage of Groupon from a business, management and share-price perspective. 
  • Star Wars:Not the Reagan-era defense system, but the actual Star Wars. With the next installment of Star Wars expected to reach movie theatres in 2013 (assuming there will still be movies theatres, and that we’re not all downloading the latest releases on our many devices), we can expect a growing number of articles and references in pop culture to JJ Abrams’ next movie, including much speculation about the actors (will Harrison Ford reprise Han Solo?), the story, etc. 
  • Fees:We don’t actually expect there to be a lot of coverage of how companies use fees to cover costs and raise revenues. However, we expect companies to continue to rely on fees on services they used to provide for free to boost their bottom lines.

Let us know if you agree or disagree. Check back tomorrow for additional predictions or click here for Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII (“Premature Deathwatch, Part I”),  Part VIII (“Premature Deathwatch, Part II”), Part IX (“Premature Deathwatch, Part III”) or Part X (Ongoing stories, Part I”).

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